Thursday, February 25, 2010

Celebrity status

These guys make me feel like a celebrity.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Obligatory post

For the record, I'm not the only one in the blogging world who's been admittedly cranky the past few days and felt like there's nothing to write. But still I feel an obligatory post is due, mostly for myself, to spew the random thoughts that are running through my head and some of them may not be spelled correctly.

I took my dogs for a four-wheeler excursion today because I felt the immediate need to get out of the house for awhile. It was worth it. The cool air cleared my head and it made me happy to see the dogs romping and playing.

One of my New Mexico friends had her third baby two weeks ago and we visited her yesterday. Juliet is so tiny and new and precious. When we left her house, the first thing Micah said was, "Holly, don't go and do something stupid. I saw the way you were looking at her."

Jada's gas is so atrocious that she WILL be sleeping outside tonight.

I engaged in a conversation tonight with my brother and his girlfriend about society, propoganda, and brainwashing. Did the Nazi soldiers know that what they were doing was wrong? Did the slave ship owners/captains have a sneaking suspision they shouldn't be treating people that way?

I cooked a lot of lasgna today - for us and for our friend who just had the baby. I hope we don't get snow so we can deliver it tomorrow.

Sometimes it feels like life is moving too fast.

I loaded and unloaded the dishwasher three times today.

I still miss my friend.

Mom and I spat at each other yesterday but we got over it fairly quickly. We also had some good conversations about life. That's mostly what we talk about - life.

Admittedly, I was irritable all day and yesterday...for no real reason. My family's humor tonight around the dinner table got me out of it. But not before I made my little brother cry.

I'm really sentimental.

My random thoughts are winding down so maybe that means I'm closer to being ready for bed. Maybe. Bedtime is always such a gamble for me. Am I tired? Tired enough to fall asleep? Should I take some of my Simply Sleep? Maybe I can try going to sleep on my own? If I take Ibuprofen now I won't be able to take Simply Sleep later. So is the pain nominal enough to where I can stand it in order to take Simply Sleep later and actually sleep? Or can I not stand the pain and need Ibuprofen now but take the risk of not sleeping later?

Tonight, I'll read first and then test the waters.

Good night.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Brown-eyed Wonder, revisited

Today I've been visiting with friends of a different sort - my old writings. I've had a blog now for nearly 6 years and can you believe how much life has changed in that time? The following is one of my favorites, written recently on July 13, 2009.

I think one of the reasons I love being with kids is that I get to experience the world through their eyes. The burdened messiness of being an adult melts into the backgroung and for a second, I'm reliving the wonder...the wonder of life and being alive.

It really doesn't take much to impress the five-year-old I spend a lot of time with. It never has.
Through her awefilled eyes tonight I discovered the buzz of hummingbirds, their shyness, and the adventure of being still and quiet while waiting for them to come feed. We were rewarded plenty of times, even with three flying in at the same time....

...I discovered the sun set over the lake. We sat on the picnic table and she exclaimed at the colors as if we were watching a fireworks display. She popped up all of a sudden to teach me how to "arrrr" like a pirate. It took me a few tries before I got a satisfactory nod from her...

...I learned how to get comfy in the hammock with her nestled beside me. "Can I sleep here?" she wondered.
Of course, I said.
"Do you want me to sing you a song?"
She nodded.
"Which one do you want to hear?"
The one about Jesus, was her reply.
I can handle that...
...I remembered it's the simple things that matter like picking blackberries with hot pink sunglasses on and a small white bucket. What is it about being close to nature that makes us feel safe? She hasn't stopped talking about our adventure. When I pulled in the driveway this afternoon, she met me at the door, yelling, "HOLLY!! Let's go pick blackberries today. Right now!"We're going again tomorrow.

I have held her hand through some of life's most important discoveries and in some cases, just been the reassuring figure in the background while she found the courage to walk barefoot in the grass for the first time, stand nose-to-nose with a two-day-old foal, ride in the wooden wagon and chase a puppy. Every time, I have experienced life again too.

She makes me remember the purity of being a kid, the joy in just being silly, and the safety of snuggling in the hammock watching the sun set.

Here's to the adventures yet to come.

Monday, February 15, 2010

I like lists

Today I:

- rode a horse for the first time in several months
- learned that I still have my horse whispering skills after subduing two of the beasts into submission (submission of being caught)
- had a very enjoyable ride with my brother and his girlfriend and my dog
- heard my brother brag about me, my college GPA and the fact that I went into college with no high school career
- got new PJs from my mom
- dealt with an incredible headache on the left side of my head that reverbrated in my teeth and jaw.
- watched The Bachelor with my sister, my mom and stepdad (and I really, REALLY want Tenley to be chosen)
- had rose petals thrown on me by my little brother
- woke up to a dog sleeping on the foot of my bed and another one going crazy when she realized I was awake
- glad to not be alone on the ranch anymore; it gets boring!
- sent a long email to a wonderful friend
- got a face full of smoothie when the spoon I was using to stir it hit the rotating blades

Yesterday I:

- slept for like 14 hours
- spent the day and night by myself
- tried to get things accomplished but didn't succeed very much
- watched a heavy intense fog settle eerily over the whole place. Maybe it was eery because I was alone.

Tomorrow I:

- will do chores
- not sleep in so late
- have school with a special someone
- go watch highschool basketball
- organize some more for the unveiling of my greatest project yet

I really like lists.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

"I have learned...

...that being with those that I love is enough."

I spent the past week with a lot of people I love and in a place that just...fits. If you've read here long enough, you know my struggles with 'belonging' in one place. This town in western Kentucky is one of the places I belong. Visiting (or living there) is easy and effortless.

On one hand, it felt like it'd been so long since I'd been there but as soon as I walked into Greg and Kristin's house last Thursday night, lugging my suitcase behind me, it felt like I'd never left (twice.)

I had death on my mind a lot last week and it changed my perspective on how I viewed my friends. We all got together at Jaclyn's house Friday night for our favorite pasttimes - GAME NIGH!- and as I was sitting there with a baby in my lap (there were FOUR there!) I withdrew myself from the environment and just watched. Watched my funny, edifying, smart, sarcastic friends. And I was just thankful.

These are women who have heard me say I didn't trust God and that I wanted to do things my own way. There is Kristin who said, "We just need to pray" and Sarah and Sabrina and Jaclyn and Kayla who prayed for me. Their husbands are my friends too and I appreciate that because one day when I take my man to meet them, I want Greg and Daniel and Bryan's opinion.

And their kids. I was worried last year when I left and they were so little that they would forget me. It helped me living there for several months in 2009 but it's also their parents who mak sure they don't forget me. :) I walked into Jaclyn's house and Luke (3) and Norah (1.5) were both in my face trying to tell me stories at the same time. Cate (2.5) was so glad to see me and cheer for the Racers together. Apparently she asks me about even when I'm not there. I love being loved by them.

Sweet Josey. She was so excited to see me. Walking into her house without knocking was normal and her looking up and realizing it was me was priceless. I can't enough of her.

One of my favorite things about everywhere I live is the sunsets. It's just not the same in any one place and the view from my friend Brooke's house is always spectacular. It's not the first time I've photographed it.

Being at her house is ... comfortable. We don't do anything major or important. We veg on the couch, we eat, we shop, we watch TV, we talk (a lot). This trip we decorated some in the baby's room and I photographed all the baby images from around the house. I love this kid, who's due to be born in April. Seriously. He's awesome.

Due to a massive snow storm, I was delayed in leaving Kentucky a day which gave me quality time with my friend Hannah and her family. We sat in a bar and talked about prayer, about faith, about living, about how it all fits together in our lives. Then when karaoke started, we left because we couldn't hear each other anymore.
When I finally arrived in Austin Wednesday night, my sisters were waiting for me with a sock moneky and I love sock monkeys!!! He is awesome.
What's even more awesome is my visit with my sisters who are indeed awesome. I was delayed a day getting home because my car had broke down while they were driving it. But as in every delay this whole trip, it was for a reason.

Did you know that everything happens for a reason?

Yes. Even delayed flights and friends who can't take you to the airport and friends who can. And flights you missed and your car being broke down.

It was all for an intricate purpose. For one conversation around dinner with my sisters that would not have happened if I had been able to adhere to my plan.

Remember that I love plans? And more importantly, my own plans?
Sometimes my plans are faulty. Sometimes, because of my lack of omnipotent power, I can't see what's around the next bend or what could happen if I altered my plans a little. This is shocking, I know.
What's not shocking is how when I submit to His authorship over my life and my plans, things happen.
Everything happens for a reason. And I can say that because I'm one of those people who's life hasn't been perfect or problem free.
But I can still say it.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Death --> Life

I'm spending a week in a place that's very familiar to me, comfortable.  It's like sitting on the couch with a bag of potato chips.  I love being here.  It's easy, effortless, comfort-food-like.  But that's another post for later.  You know, when the snow from New Mexico quits following me and I'm actually able to not be snowed in.  But being snowed in with your best friend who lives 30 minutes away from your favorite town which is filled with many, many favorite-est people is actually pretty wonderful.  

I've been thinking a lot about death.  And I can't stop thinking - isn't it sad that the death of a friend makes you start thinking about how you're living your life?

I mean, why can't we live in a state of death?

It sounds like an oximoron and downright heresy.  But give me a moment to explain.

We have all experienced death and most of us have had death walk right up to us and engage us in a staring contest that we eventually lose.  Or win.  In any case, we know what color death's eyes have.

Whether or not we lose the staring contest, we always walk away with the same regrets and passion to change the future.

We should have called more.
We should have visited that one last time.
We should remember the last time we saw that person...
...the way they smelled....
...what they wore....
...their last words....
...your last words....
We should have ended that last text conversation differently.
Or the last phone conversation.
I shouldn't have stormed out; they shouldn't have yelled.
We should have made Christmases and birthdays a bigger deal.
I should have mailed them a Christmas card.
We shouldn't have been too busy to do lunch.

So why?  Why can't we think abut these things before death smiles and blinks...after we already have?  

I posted this question to a friend the other night.  His reply was that it's sad that this is the way it is but that it is the way it is.

My overactive brain (which sometimes makes me want to jump off a bridge....not in a literal way.  I'm not suicidal.  But in the please-shut-off-brain-because-I-can't sleep-way) wouldn't accept this.  If we can fall into the rut of not appreciating life until death strikes then why can't we get stuck appreciating life every day?

I think it's a matter of our worldview.

We say that life is short.  But yet we don't live like it is until we are forced to acknowledge it.  Then we act surprised as if we really don't believe that life is a vapor and that it doesn't last forever.  I mean, who does death think it is, stealing from us?  When in reality we're probably trying to hang onto something that wasn't really ours in the first place.

My worldview is that life is a gift and it is brief.  It's not fragile; it's just not here forever.  So instead of living like death is something to be avoided, I choose to live in the awareness of death.

It sounds morbid, yes.  But I refuse for death to sneak up on me.  It can't steal life (because life is for death to have) but it can rob me of my memories, of my should-have-could-have-would-haves.  It can rob me of my peace of mind and it can give me regrets.

If you're ever around me, I always tell my family members "love you" before hanging up the phone.  I leave notes in their vehicles for them to find when they're leaving for school or work.  We always hug each other goodbye and hello when we've been gone a few days.  I tell my friends how I feel about them, how I appreciate them, things I like about them.  I lay in bed at night and think about the things I shouldn't have said in that tone to my little brother or sister or mom and I make a promise to fix it.  I apologize.  I don't do it again.  Those things are important.  Those are the things that death has the ability to take from me.

It sounds like I'm living in the shadow of death, doesn't it?  

But really, aren't we all?    

My worldview allows me to dance in the shadows, to feel the sunshine on my face, to lose the staring contest but to have no regrets.